Ukraine war: Russian disinformation operations, Zelenskyy visits frontline, Canada sends drones

Zelenskyy on the frontline.
Zelenskyy on the frontline. Copyright AP/Ukrainian Presidential Press Office
Copyright AP/Ukrainian Presidential Press Office
By Euronews with AP
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All the latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

Russian cyber operations aim to sow panic amid military assault

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The ISW has said that Russia conducted cyber operations intended to create panic and weaken Ukrainian morale as its military forces captured Adviivka. 

In its daily intelligence briefing on Tuesday, the US-based think tank cited reports by Ukraine's State Special Communication Service that Russian actors hacked well-known Ukrainian media outlets and posted fake information on their social media channels. 

These outlets included Ukrainska Pravda, Apostrophe, Liga.net, and Telegraf, which all detailed that their social media accounts were hacked. 

Hackers posted disinformation, specifically about the alleged widespread destruction of Ukrainian forces in Avdiivka, according to the ISW. 

Ukrainian troops withdrew from the Donetsk region town on Saturday, handing Moscow a strategic and symbolic victory. Delays in Western deliveries of military support have been cited by experts as playing a key role in Kkyiv's defeat.

ISW notes that Russia's Ministry of Defence made claims about the Ukrainian withdrawal from Avdiivka on Monday "aimed at sowing resentment and distrust against the Ukrainian command." 

Testimonies from the relatives of Ukrainian soldiers who died defending Adviivka claim commanders were unresponsive to their repeated pleas to retreat as they were encircled by Russian troops, the BBC reported on Tuesday. 

Oleksandr Syrskyi, Ukrainian commander-in-chief, says the withdrawal was intended to save troops' lives. 

Canada sends hundreds of drones to Ukraine

The Canadian government said on Monday it will dispatch some 800 drones to Ukraine starting as early as spring.

In a statement, the Department of National Defence said unmanned aerial vehicles have become a critical capability for Ukraine as it battles the Russian invasion.

It said drones are important for surveillance and intelligence gathering, plus can also be used to move supplies, including munitions.

They will cost more than 95 million Canadian dollars (€65 million) and are part of a previously announced $500 million Canadian dollars (€344 million) in military help for Ukraine.

The SkyRanger R70 multi-mission Unmanned Aerial Systems are manufactured by Teledyne in Waterloo, Ontario.

The announcement comes days ahead of the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Canada in the past two years has pledged 2.4 billion Canadian dollars (€1.65 billion) in military assistance.

Zelenskyy visits the frontline to rally troops

Ukraine's president visited the front line in the Kupiansk region on Monday in a trip aimed at boosting morale. 

Facing depleted stocks of ammunition and delays to much-needed US support, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Moscow is taking advantage and amassing maximum reserves at key points on the battlefield.

His comments come after Ukrainian soldiers were forced to withdraw from Avdiivka over the weekend, where the outnumbered defenders had faced unrelenting Russian attacks for four months.

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Russia's Ministry of Defence has released footage of its troops taking back the town, while footage aired by the Rossiya 24 state broadcaster shows Russian forces demining the town that now lies in ruins. 

Some experts say Russian troops will not remain in Avdiivka and instead seek to push further into Ukrainian territory in case Kyiv finally gets the ammunition supplies it needs.

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